One hacker, a little wi-fi ... and an election victory can be yours

A new report from the Brennan Center underscores the problems with voting machines.

Published June 28, 2006 6:06PM (EDT)

The Brennan Center for Justice impaneled a group of experts last year to examine what it would take to steal an election using electronic voting machines. The answer: a single technologically savvy operative with timely access to the right computers.

The task force's report reaches three "fundamental" conclusions: Voting machines have "significant security and reliability vulnerabilities, which pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state, and local elections"; the worst of these vulnerabilities "can be substantially remedied if proper countermeasures are implemented at the state and local level"; but few jurisdictions have implemented any of these countermeasures.

Among other things, the task force calls on state and local officials to conduct audits in which they compare voter-verified paper trails with the electronic record and -- here's a no-brainer -- to "ban wireless components in voting machines." Currently, only New York and Minnesota ban wireless components from all of their voting machines, the task force said.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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